Apr 282015

Texans suffering from chronic pain, seizures and other debilitating disorders will ask lawmakers Tuesday to support legislation that would allow them to use marijuana to treat their symptoms. A proposal by Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso, would legalize marijuana for medical use and set up a licensing system for growers and dispensaries. Chair of the House Public Health Committee Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, put medical marijuana-related bills on Tuesday’s schedule the day after veterans came to the Capitol to publicly ask her to give the proposals a hearing. Two other related proposals are scheduled to be heard by the committee Tuesday as well. A bill by Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, would provide a defense in court for people using marijuana for medical purposes. And a measure by Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, would allow people with intractable epilepsy who haven’t found success with other medications to use high-CBD oil.

California State Sen. Mike McGuire has introduced a sweeping bill that would legalize and regulate the medical marijuana industry from cultivation to consumption and all the steps in between. The bill, SB 643, passed out of the state Senate’s Business and Professions Committee on April 20 and will receive a hearing in the Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday. McGuire’s bill would create a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within the state’s existing Department of Consumer Affairs. The legislation would give the bureau until Jan. 1, 2018, to develop procedures for the issuance of conditional licenses for cultivation, manufacture, transportation, storage, distribution and sale of medical marijuana within the state. The bureau, in consultation with the state Water Resources Control Board, also would be charged with adopting regulations to ensure that licensed medical marijuana growers don’t threaten the state’s environment.

A majority of Americans support legalizing recreational marijuana, a Fox News poll revealed Monday. The Fox poll marks the first time the news organization has found majority support for the issue since it began asking the question. It’s also the latest in a string of recent polls that have, for the first time in their histories, found majority support for legalization. When asked if they “favor or oppose legalizing marijuana,” 51 percent of registered American voters surveyed nationwide said that they favor legalization. Polls this year by CBS, FOX, Pew Research Center, the Benenson Strategy Group, and the General Social Survey have all found majority support for legalization. No poll this year shows majority opposition. Eight of ten polls last year saw majority support for legalization and since 2011, 21 of 34 national polls show majority support for marijuana legalization.

In a landmark decision Monday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw out the case against Josiah Canning, ruling that police executing a search warrant must prove the suspect isn’t growing for medical purposes. In the Canning case, police secured a search warrant based on overpowering marijuana smell and Canning’s sky-high electrical bills. Once they executed the search, members of the Cape Cod Drug Task Force said they found 70 plants under grow lights. But the high court ruled that in obtaining the search warrant, it was not enough for police to show probable cause that Canning was growing marijuana; they also needed to establish that he was not registered to grow the plants for medical purposes. Specifically, the high court upheld an Orleans District Court ruling to suppress key evidence related to the arrest of Canning, 37, who was charged on May 30, 2013, with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, distribution of marijuana and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

After receiving dozens of emails and phone calls from medical marijuana proponents, a key Alabama senator says the bill isn’t necessarily dead. Sen. Jabo Waggoner said he hasn’t changed his viewpoint. He is still against medical marijuana legislation, but today he said he would poll members of the rules committee. The chairman of the rules committee told reporters last week that medical marijuana legislation was dead; he wouldn’t allow it to be discussed on the Senate floor. Sen. Trip Pittman said medical marijuana legislation is too broad to be debated on the Senate floor this year. “The bill that is before us opens the door way wider than just medical marijuana,” the rules committee member told reporters today. The 25 medical conditions outlined in the bill “are pretty broad in scope,” he said, and would cause for misuse of the drug.